The evolution of sperm and non-sperm producing organs in male Drosophila

Ken Kraaijeveld, Matthew Denniff, Richard H. Baker, Tracey Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The male ejaculate is made up of two components: sperm and non-sperm. There has been little consideration of how these two basic compartments evolve. If they are subject to trade-offs, theory predicts that when the sperm competition raffle is unfair, when seminal fluid proteins stimulate fecundity and/or when ejaculate components alter fertilization success, there will be differential selection on sperm versus non-sperm ejaculate characteristics. However, the fundamental assumption that there are trade-offs between sperm and non-sperm ejaculate compartments in Drosophila has not yet been tested. To address this, we examined testis (sperm producing) and accessory gland (non-sperm producing) size across 22 species of Drosophila. We also examined how these characters varied with copulation duration, which may represent an additional target for sperm competition. The results showed no evidence of a trade-off between testis length and accessory gland length. Copulation duration correlated negatively with accessory gland length and there was a positive correlation with testis length, but only after correcting for body size. Overall, the results suggest no evidence for gross trade-offs in sperm versus non-sperm compartments across these Drosophila species, and motivate more detailed examination of ejaculate investment patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-512
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008

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